Title: Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter
Author: Tim Learn
Publication: July 15th 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Chewy Noh has many problems. Besides his mom becoming a mu-dang—a Korean fortune-teller possessed by his dead grandmother who can read minds—the school bully, Kent, is still on the warpath to get Chewy kicked out of school. With his secret ability to win at everything, none of this bothers him until he starts disappearing for no reason while a mysterious force attacks his fellow students, and he must scramble to figure out what’s going on before he becomes its next and final victim.
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Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter is the second installment in the Chewy Noh series. I personally loved this better than the first one because of its plot line and the character development. The author told me that there is no need to read the first book to read the second one. The first one is merely a background on how things work for Chewy and his grandmother being a mu-dang.
In this book, something ghastly is terrorizing the students in Chewy’s school in America. Even with his superpower, he has no idea what is happening because he always black out every time something bad happens. At the same time, the bully, Kent, is trying to make the teachers realize that Chewy having perfect scores is fake and a cheat, and he is trying to get Chewy get kicked out of school.
“Too many people know how to study, listen, and follow. Not enough know how to stand up for something, especially when everyone else seems to think it’s okay and lets it happen.”
I love the idea of the Korean mythology being incorporated in the book, especially when the gu-mi-ho was introduced since I have a little background about that creature. Yes, it is because of the Korean drama that is all about that guy falling in love with a girl who is apparently a gu-mi-ho (fox with nine tails). It’s the reason why this creature rang a bell to me.
Despite this, I had some trouble shifting from chapter to chapter because I don’t know who is the person talking. Especially when intermissions started to intercept with the present chapters where Death was introduced to us. Everything started to get baffling and complex, but I love how it adds a dark element to the story.
“Don’t you see? Jumping in to save someone, no matter what–that made you who you are, that made you the Great Chewy Noh. But sometimes, jumping in isn’t always the answer.”
I somehow find something unrealistic about Mrs. Wolf when she’s teaching because there were times that she is naming names who cheated on her tests, and I just don’t think teachers would do that to humiliate students specifically to children. Nevertheless, everything seems perfectly fine, unlike the first book where I encountered a lot of problems. Every problem that I found there was corrected in this sequel, making this one better.
All in all, nothing’s fine with the book. I love the idea and the plot behind it, but there were just some confusing chapters that made me re-read some lines to understand what’s happening. Chewy Noh is surely a series that give importance to Korean mythology, culture and tradition, while being interesting for the younger audience.
3 swords for the Great Chewy Noh!
About the author:
Tim Learn has always loved books. While younger, he reads voraciously the classics and experimental forms of narrative. But, more recently, he’s backtracked and started enjoying authors like Gaimen, Sachar, and Clement. His writing tends to tackle issues of spirituality, paradigms, and the way we think. His love for reading and writing has only expanded by becoming an English teacher in Korea.
Which do you prefer? Young Adult or Middle Grade? Comment below and let’s talk about it.